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Letters

Just Pieces of a Whole (Katia)

Posted by Alyssa.fenix on July 8, 2014 at 10:25 AM Comments comments (0)

Dear Katia,

You are beautiful just the way you are, Katia, and you are not alone. These feelings you are feeling are not unique.

There are so many others like you who are seeking, who are looking to find our purpose, and who are looking for acceptance. There is an energy force out there, taking care of us, giving us what we need, even as we feel alone. The best part is that this force is within you too. If you open your heart, you will feel it, and you will know the peace and Love that is absolutely yours. Gay, lesbian, straight, etc., will be just labels.

We will discover that Love manifests in so many ways, and no way is the right or wrong way. Many will awaken and discover that the energy force that is God does not label us and separate us into categories. We will discover that we are all just pieces of a Whole. I could keep going, really, but isn't this enough?

Love,

Yourself

Find Your Faith in the Universe (Alyssa)

Posted by Alyssa.fenix on July 8, 2014 at 9:55 AM Comments comments (0)

Dear Alyssa,

I am pleased to inform you, that you, Alyssa, do get through it. I know that right now, you’re teetering on the brink of understanding how temporary all of this is, but just in case, something throws you off balance the wrong way, I want you to see that first and foremost, you get through it and good does come out of it, and I’ll give you a couple sneak peaks in a few minutes, just bare with me.

The scars go away one day, you’ll sit down to work on something, and notice that 14 years later, only one faded line remains. Stop scrubbing so hard in the shower, the scar tissue is darker because you’re biracial, not because there’s anything wrong with you. If I knew this then, I wouldn’t have scrubbed so hard in the shower when I compared the fair skin of my mom and my sister to my own uneven tan patchy, bruised looking complexion that covered my body.

I know you don’t see it nor will want to believe it, but you and Sarah are not star-crossed lovers. Yes, unrequited love exists somewhere for some people, but you have much more in store for you than reenacting your favorite play written by a dead white guy. You’ll cry for her no doubt and she’ll make random cameos in your life for the next 5 years or so, but at 30, she’s just a symbol of a beacon in a rough patch. DON’T CRUMPLE THIS UP! I know you’re pissed I just called this a “rough patch” but I promise you, things change and you come out better for it. If I knew then that I would marry a woman who keeps me grounded and would be my anchor in the toughest times, I would have spent a lot less time looking for “the one.” Nothing I did as a teenager brought me closer to meeting her, so flirt, kiss, date, etc. but don’t try to focus on the endgame, you’ll overanalyze yourself to death and lose friends because of it.

Try not to get too angry at your parents. Continue to be open with them, and continue to assert yourself (be it dreadfully long emails or late night cry fests with mom). This push and pull of acceptance and rebellion is just a natural progression of a relationship that you will truly cherish one day. I know when you told them you were Bi, and Dad said he would hate anything that prevented him from walking his baby down the aisle, and mom said it was probably because you were depressed. I know that hurt, and you feel like you’ll never be able to celebrate with them who makes you the happiest. All of this will become an after thought following the day Dad dances you down the aisle to African drumming, after your wife slyly asks them for your hand in marriage. Continue to let mom have a big influence on you and recognize that anything she does is an attempt at protecting you, no matter how it’s perceived otherwise. Her cut the crap attitude but genuine authenticity will stick with you and carry you through many rough times in your life. She is your #1 fan and though you hate her praise and compliments now, you’ll cherish the reserve she left you to carry you through the times she’s not around for. As for your sister, be inspired by her go get it attitude and continue to stay close, but stop measuring your self worth according to her. You see yourself in her shadows now and until you step away, you’ll never feel the warmth of the sunlight or even let yourself shine. You have a lot of shining to do, so start introducing yourself as Alyssa, not Monica’s little sister.

As for your friends, the friends you make in high school are great, and all in all, you have an amazing support group. Recognize that people come in and out of your life to teach us things and present us with opportunities, connect with them as much as you can without losing yourself. Keep in mind that just about everyone is so concerned with themselves at this age that whatever awkward statement you say or movement you make will not be worth fretting about because chances are, everyone else is too worried about something they did, they didn’t even notice. Give more hugs and listen, connecting to things outside of yourself will put things in perspective and will help pass these turbulent times. It’s a storm, you just have to wait this one out.

As for school, your struggle with anxiety and focus will pay off by making you a strong high school special education teacher. You have a personal experience to connect strategies to and the compassion you have for struggling students and teenagers will set you apart from many of your coworkers. You’ll also recognize the interconnectedness between being a woman of color, being a lesbian, having a learning disability, and having a history of anxiety and depression, and use them to be a change maker. Your journey is an integral part of that change and the influence you’ll have in other’s lives so trust it, find value in it, but don’t perseverate on it or use it as a crutch. Nothing can truly define you, nor should you let it.

When you do discover that you want to spend the rest of your life with a woman, and realize that the label “Bi” no longer works for you, don’t be so quick to put yourself into another box. Lots of self placed limitations come with labels and you don’t want to end up putting yourself into another box before you know what that looks like. Your career goals, your ideas of relationships, your spirituality, and support group, are all fluid concepts and will shift multiple times throughout your life, so let yourself explore, let yourself love, let yourself fall, and just know that it’ll shape who you are and who you were supposed to be.

If I knew then, that things would all work out, I would have taken a deep breath and let go. Find your faith in the universe a little sooner and enjoy the ride. It’s all temporary, except tattoos, choose wisely.

Hang in there, kid. You’ve got a lot to look forward to.

Be the Woman You Meant to Be (Suzanne)

Posted by Alyssa.fenix on July 8, 2014 at 9:55 AM Comments comments (0)

Dear College Suzanne,

Soon, your good lesbian friends will take you to a lesbian bar, and one of their friends will look you straight in the eye and tell you that you’re gay. This will be your turning point and everything will change! It will validate all the hours spent agonizing over what the hell all these feelings are and what they mean for you. Despite what you’ve been brought up to believe, you will not be struck down because of who you are! However, you may want to start exploring new religious avenues. You’re always going to be a spiritual person, so you’re not going to lose that part of yourself. So it’s time to stop dismissing the feelings you have for girls by thinking that it’s just a “I really want to be their friend” feeling because, let’s face it, you want much more than that.

As for coming out, it is going to be difficult to come out to your friends and family, but they will all understand, and no one is going to think less of you for it. In fact, many of them will try so very hard to hold back the words, ‘well duh’ or something along those lines. Your siblings will all be understanding, accepting, and almost upset that you hesitated so long to tell them. Your parents, on the other hand are a different story. They will not disown you, but they will never fully understand. They think it’s a choice and will struggle to understand that it’s not. Unfortunately, you will spend far too many hours agonizing over your relationship with your parents and whether or not it’s healthy for your family. However, you must always remember to stay strong when speaking with them on the topic so they don’t think that don’t have any reason to question or doubt who you are.

The good news is this does not by any stretch mean that you will grow up to be a lonely old cat lady. You can stop climbing back in the closet when you enter a new situation because you will not encounter many people who will judge you solely based on who you are. You will crush hard and you will crush often, but don’t take it so hard when the feelings aren’t returned. There’s something huge coming your way: the woman of your dreams, and you want to be ready for her! You should not spend so long concentrating on the idea that it will all end in more disappointment and just ask her out already! She will love you despite the fact that she is the first person that you’ll be with and have NO idea what you’re doing! And a note on that: stop worrying that women won’t want anything to do with you if they find out you’re a virgin. Turns out, it doesn’t matter as much as you may think it does. It may make for a couple uncomfortable situations that your wife will never let you live down, but that will not define your relationship or what you can offer. But wait, there’s more…

Yes, you read right, your wife. Yes, you do get married and you have a beautiful wedding that everyone will love and rave about. No, your parents don’t come, but the way the rest of your family rally behind you warms your heart more than you could ever know. In fact, you’ll have family members suggesting you get married and move to their state or country because your marriage will be legal there. Four years later, you and your wife will join the fight to have marriage equality in Maryland and win. Finally, you will have the family you always hoped for and that you will do anything for.

So here’s the bottom line. Right now you’re scared to be who you are around anyone, but that will all change. You will be a strong, confident woman who will get everything that you’re worried that being a lesbian will keep you from. You will always know who you are and you will be proud of it. So it’s time to start believing in yourself and be the woman you are meant to be.

Supression of Self is Depression of Spirit (Michelle)

Posted by Alyssa.fenix on July 8, 2014 at 9:40 AM Comments comments (0)

Dear teenage self, I am a social worker in a relationship with a woman. If I knew I could still have been a mom and have my spirituality as a teen my life would have looked a bit different. I don't have regrets, but I needed to know God would not forsake me and I could still be a mother to a child/children. As a result of my journey I was able to learn and be awakened by freeing myself to live with integrity in EVERY aspect of my life. Hiding who we are creates a menagerie of deceptions to others and to ourselves. Those walls take years to break down. Time wasted instead of living.

 

Being of color and having a challenging childhood made it difficult for me to follow my true desires. I instead friended the women I had crushes on and just enjoyed watching them. I admired them in EVERY way. It wasn't just for lust, it was a connection and pulling towards them I could never explain. I came out when I was 24 and still had a long way to go.

 

If I knew I could be myself and that HELL was living someone else's truth, I'd would have been happier in life much sooner.

 

My advice is to always be who you are. Your sexuality doesn't create your destiny, living your truth in FULL does.. Suppression of self is depression of the spirit.

Laying Tracks For Future Trains (Kate)

Posted by Alyssa.fenix on July 8, 2014 at 9:40 AM Comments comments (0)

Dear Kate,

So, you are fourteen, going to Catholic Central, and just came out. Congratulations, that was an awkward conversation with your parents. The embarrassment that you are feeling right now; let go of it. You have nothing to be embarrassed about. You are perfect and beautiful just the way you are.

What else? Yeah, don't drop out, don't run away. Stop eating peanut butter and marshmallow sandwiches for lunch every day. I swear, you are breeding a sugar worm. Believe me, nineteen years latter, and we are still feeding that worm!

You know how Dad is forcing us to get confirmed? Just do it. You won't go to hell, I promise!

Oh, and remember that girl, Georgie I think it was? The one who, during Algebra class, when Coach yelled at you, got up out of her seat, crossed the room in utter silence as the entire class stared, bent and kissed your forehead? Yeah! Go get her #!!! Call her!

Also, don't drop out of Catholic Central and enroll in Public School. Kids are just as mean there and you will wind up dropping out of that school too. PS, they are the same kids who now 'like' every fart you make on FB and constantly remind you that your life seems so amazing!

What I'm saying is, don't run. Make friends. Discover the Michigan Womyns Music Fest (bring Georgie, she probably has a car)! You live in Michigan for Gods sake, don't wait eighteen years to discover it!

By the way, there are more gay people than you think. Yes, all around. You are so weird and different only because you are way ahead of your time, and more brave than most.

You will continue to be weird and brave, don't run in search of more like you, you will only get dizzy. Stay and make friends right where you are. People become more and more alike, the more you get to know them. We are not all so different.

Don't hide all the time. It will only make you become a lonely, isolated person. You know how you like to go up on the roof and smoke cig's during Friday Mass? Well, eighteen years latter and you still have cravings and are trying to learn Spanish via podcast!

Its 1995 and what is a podcast you ask? Never mind that. The point is that Mass was in Latin, you could of learned something! Instead of standing in pigeon poop, huffing camels, by now, 'we' could be a bilingual non smoker!

My dear young self, it appears there is much I would of liked to have changed. Unfortunately who knows what or who I would be today if it weren't for you, messing things up, making discoveries the hard way, and simply going about life as a teenager. So, thank you. Thank you for being you and for going through all of it.

The teen years are like no other. They are terrifyingly beautiful. Something happens to a person during this time. A formation of the adult to come. So handle yourself with care my love. The emotions you are feeling so deeply, they will seem trivial in a few years, but still I warn you, handle them now with great care, because they are laying the tracks for the future trains of your life.